We’ve watched Rihanna grow from a teenage pop sensation to a multifaceted business woman who dominates every industry she enters. Music, clothing, beauty, and film are just a few of the notches that Rihanna has in her belt, and by the looks of it, she isn’t going to be slowing down anytime soon.
If there’s one thing we can learn from Rihanna, it’s how not to be boring with your looks or life, period. She has never been afraid to push the limit with her image, even as a teen newbie in the music industry. From day one, Rihanna has stuck to her guns, all the while being unapologetically herself and rebelling against societal norms.
Without a doubt, Rihanna will go down in history as a fashion icon, and let’s be real, she’s only just getting started. In celebration of Rih’s birthday here are 24 of her best beauty and style moments, from side-swept, girl-next-door bangs to her role as the mastermind of Fenty Beauty. (And yes, finding just 24 looks to highlight was stressful AF.)
When we first came across Rihanna following the success of her hit song “Pon De Replay,” she wore her hair side-swept and honey blonde to show off her gorgeous eyes and naturally beautiful face. Her edgy style consisted of oversized pants and a crop top—very ’90s.
One of the first things we saw Rihanna play around with early on was hair. At the 2005 z100 Jingle Ball, she breathed some new life into her look with bangs. Many of us were guilty of following suit shortly thereafter.
As far as her beauty look goes, Rihanna began early on making her eyes the ultimate focal point. At TRL, Rihanna rocked a soft, smokey eye and crimped hair (which is totally making a comeback as we speak). Can we talk about how we need this asymmetrical blouse in our closets right now?
Long before Rihanna created the Diamond Ball, she showed the world that she could be the belle of the ball with her keen eye for glamour. At the 2006 VMAs, Rihanna donned jewels and a silver smokey eye, looking like a diamond personified.
It didn’t take long for Rihanna to get adjusted to the short hair life. At the 20th Annual Nickelodeons Kids’ Choice Awards, the songstress went for a dark asymmetrical bob that screamed edge and confidence.
When we said Rihanna knows how to bring on the glamour, we were not playing. At the 2007 BET Awards, Rihanna hit the red carpet rocking a jaw-dropping white dress fit only for a princess.
In one of her most iconic looks to date, Rihanna arrived like a queen at the 2009 Met Gala, dressed in a custom tuxedo. Embodying the event’s theme, “The Model as Muse: Embodying Fashion,” Rih fused together both men’s and women’s fashions to create this show-stopping look that will go down in Met Gala history.
Rihanna has experimented so much with her hair over the years, but this blonde, flipped-over mohawk holds a special spot in her hair archives.
At the 52nd Grammys in 2010, Rihanna sported a bold, blonde cut and an edgy, yet elegant white gown. We’re starting to find a common theme here that includes Rihanna and white on the red carpet.
By the end of 2010, Rihanna was ready to go out with a bang. She ditched her bold cut for a vibrant red ‘do in her video for “What’s My Name?” This moment was the beginning of a red hair era for Rihanna, and we are so grateful to have borne witness.
It’s not hard to tell that Rihanna was having one hell of a time being a redhead. At the 2010 American Music Awards, she wore her red tresses in big wand curls, heavy on the volume. Let’s not ignore the monochromatic look she is serving with the perfectly matched gown.
It’s no secret that Rihanna fell in love with red hair on her as much as we did. In 2011, she tweaked her tone of red for the 53rd Annual Grammy awards, going a bit more on the ginger side. She looked absolutely stunning in a classy yet sexy, see-through gown.
As extra as Rihanna can be, it’s obvious she knows how sexy simplicity is. This LBD and “woke up like this” hair at the 54th Grammys are all the proof we need.
If we had to credit any one person for the popularity of the half-shaved, half-long hairstyle, our vote would be for Rihanna. Not only because she’s a total trendsetter, but also because she perfected the look.
At the 2013 American Music Awards, Rihanna added glamorous bobby pins to her doobie, and instead of letting it down before the show, she made it fashion. Message received.
When it comes to looks, Rihanna has never been afraid of a challenge. At the 2014 CFDA Fashion Icon Awards, Rihanna wore a see-through, bedazzled dress and custom, decked-out durag to match. Only Rihanna can make a durag formal attire.
Rihanna, what did we do to deserve you? From the bantu knots to the bold green lip, Rihanna was looking to break necks with this bold beauty statement. We speculate that this green lip was the inspo behind the Fenty Beauty Wasabi Mattemoiselle Plush Matte Lipstick, but the world may never know.
You can’t talk about Rihanna’s style without highlighting the extravagant gown she wore to the 2015 MET Gala. We’re sure any photographer trying to capture this moment in fashion had to step outside of the venue to get the whole look into one frame. AMAZING!
While most people would have found these fabulous boots constricting, Rihanna was willing to take the risk in the name of fashion. She rocked similar styles throughout the year as her go-t0.
Rihanna ditched her loose tresses for locs while shooting Ocean’s 8. This look may have been intended just for the movie, but Rih made it a total vibe—and owned it.
Say what you want about Rihanna’s 2017 MET Gala look, but you have to admit the holographic makeup was absolutely everything and more.
Beauty lovers’ lives changed forever when Fenty Beauty launched in September 2017. Rihanna looked like the Trophy Wife Killawat Freestyle Highlighter personified with this bold, golden-yellow dress and glowing skin.
Trend alert: Snakeskin is a must-have because Rihanna said so. Rih celebrated the one-year anniversary of Fenty Beauty in Sydney, Australia in a head-to-toe snakeskin outfit, and yasss.
The year just started, and Rihanna is already killing the game. Only she can make January in NYC look smokey hot.